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Grants and In-Kind Support to North Carolina Early-Stage Companies to Promote Startup Development

NC IDEA SEED Grant

NC IDEA


Agency: Foundation

GrantWatch ID #145633

Grant Description

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Grants of $50,000 and in-kind support to North Carolina early-stage businesses for startup funding. Funding is intended to minimize potential risks and support growth for new businesses. In addition to grant funds, the program supports businesses through mentorship, networking, and programming.

In addition to funding, grant recipients also receive support from NC IDEA through mentorship, introductions and programming, including:

  • Opportunities to participate in monthly seminars and workshops on topics such as marketing, sales and meeting with fellow founders
  • Access to NC IDEA staff to get feedback on pitches, funding opportunities, market pivots and other topics facing your startup
  • Introductions to potential partners, mentors, advisors, funders and customers

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Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The NC IDEA SEED evaluation process is rigorous and extremely competitive. Companies must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for an NC IDEA SEED grant.

Geography:
NC IDEA SEED grants are specifically targeted at companies headquartered in and that conduct a majority of corporate operations in the State of North Carolina. All publicly facing materials, including website, social media, and other marketing materials and channels should identify the business as a North Carolina company. Selected companies must agree to maintain the majority of corporate operations in the State of North Carolina for at least the 12-month period following completion of the grant.

Industry and Company Type:
NC IDEA SEED grants are awarded to innovative companies with proprietary intellectual property or other means of sustained competitive advantage that are solving large problems.

Market Opportunity:
NC IDEA SEED grants are awarded to companies addressing large, rapidly growing market opportunities, with a unique value proposition, and on a path to become a multi-million dollar company, have 50+ employees or be investable in 3-5 years.

Stage of Development:
Companies have demonstrated proof of concept (existence of a problem, market readiness and an MVP) and are prepared to leverage a $50K grant to scale the business.

Team:
Competitive applicants must have at least one full-time founder. NC IDEA defines a full-time founder as one who works 40+ hours a week on their startup and does not have regular employment at another company, including a different startup run by the founder, more than 15 hours a week. Experience working in or on a previous startup, as well as domain expertise, is favorable as well – but not required.

Revenue:
Companies that have revenue in the last 12 months of more than $250K are less likely to be considered.

Prior Investment:
NC IDEA's funding is intended to help early stage companies accomplish specific milestones that demonstrate to investors and other funding sources that the company has high growth potential. Therefore, companies that have received greater than $250K in equity investment or over $1M in non-dilutive grant funding at the time of applying are less likely to be considered. NC IDEA does, however, consider founder and “friends and family” funding differently, and such funding will not negatively impact consideration.

Companies do not have to be incorporated to apply for a MICRO or SEED grant. However, if a company is awarded a MICRO or SEED grant, the company must be incorporated prior to receiving any grant funds. An LLC is considered incorporated.

Companies with high capital requirements and a long runway to commercialization, such as pharmaceutical companies, are not eligible. Other companies that are considered out of scope and not eligible for grant funding include consulting practices or agencies; training companies; distributors; franchises; resellers; local, service-oriented small businesses (i.e. restaurants, retail stores) and other “lifestyle” companies; and not-for-profits.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Register for Fall 2022 Webinar:

NC IDEA Foundation staff will provide an overview of the upcoming Fall 2022 NC IDEA MICRO ($10K) and NC IDEA SEED ($50K) grants, which provide funding to early-stage, high-growth companies.

Info sessions:

July 25 – Info Session via WEBINAR – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-micro-seed-grants-inform-tickets-109813

July 27 – Asheville Info Session – Register Now: https://www.1millioncups.com/asheville

July 28 – Winston-Salem Info Session – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grants-information-sessi-tickets-110070

August 1 – Research Triangle Info Session – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grants-information-sessi-tickets-109730

August 2 – 26 – Fall 2022 Virtual Office Hours – Reserve Now: https://calendly.com/ncideaprograms/grant_office_hours

August 3 – Charlotte Info Session – Register Now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grant-info-session-tickets-378578918737

August 8 – Wilmington Info Session – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grants-information-sessi-tickets-109815

Pre-Application Information:

Fall 2022 Deadlines:
- July 25 – Info Session via webinar
- July 27 – Asheville Info Session
- July 28 – Winston-Salem Info Session
- August 1 – NC IDEA SEED Grant Application Opens
- August 1 – Research Triangle Info Session
- August 2 – 26 – Fall 2022 Virtual Office Hours
- August 3 – Charlotte Info Session
- August 8 – Wilmington Info Session
- August 29 – NC IDEA SEED Grant Application Deadline
*All applications must be submitted and received by 5:00pm EST – No Exceptions*
- September 23 – NC IDEA SEED Semi-Finalists Selected and Notified
- October 3 – NC IDEA SEED Semi-Finalist Revised Application Deadline
- October 21 – NC IDEA SEED Finalists Selected and Notified
- October 27 – November 2 – NC IDEA SEED Finalist Pitch Scrub Sessions
- November 4 – NC IDEA SEED Finalist Pitches
- November 9 – NC IDEA SEED Grant Recipients Selected and Notified
**Note: You may only apply to either MICRO or SEED (not both) during a grant cycle.**

Application Process:
NC IDEA solicits SEED grant applications twice per year, usually in mid-February and mid-August. NC IDEA typically receives 150-180 applications each grant cycle. Applications are reviewed by the NC IDEA team, investors and other partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Companies are notified of their status and receive specific feedback on their application. From each applicant pool, approximately 20-30 companies are selected to progress to the semi-finalist phase. Semi-finalists are given a week to 10 days to complete a “full proposal” allowing them to elaborate on information provided in their original grant application and incorporate feedback from the reviewers. Each semi-finalist also schedules a 15-minute phone interview with NC IDEA. Approximately 10-12 semi-finalists progress to the finalist phase and are invited to pitch. Each company gives a 10-minute in-person pitch followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. Ultimately, 5-7 companies are selected and awarded an NC IDEA SEED grant.

Grant recipients work with NC IDEA to implement a timeline with impactful use of funds and meaningful milestones. Grant funds are typically released over the span of 6-12 months in separate milestone-based tranches. Prior to the release of each tranche, grant recipients report on their progress. In addition to funding, grant recipients also receive support from NC IDEA through mentorship, introductions and programming.

FAQs: https://ncidea.org/frequently-asked-questions/
Eligibility: https://ncidea.org/nc-idea-seed
Watch Spring 2022 webinar: https://ncidea.sharefile.com/d-s219523206dda4203a541a13ff16ed111
Watch July 25 Webinar: https://vimeo.com/734485303

Additional Funding Information:

Number of Grants:

5-7

Estimated Size of Grant:

NC IDEA SEED provides grants of $50,000.

Term of Contract:

Grant funds are typically released over the span of 6-12 months in separate milestone-based tranches.

Contact Information:

Online Application Portal: https://ncidea.force.com

NC IDEA
411 W. Chapel Hill Street, Suite C2
Durham, NC 27701
919.941.5600
info@ncidea.org

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